Eastbourne and Dungeness lifeboats were involved in a multi-agency rescue yesterday when an open rib with nine people on board was reported as being in difficulties 26 miles east of Sovereign Harbour. 

Earlier in the day, Dungeness and Dover lifeboats, along with coastguard rescue helicopter 163 were tasked to search for the rib in the busy shipping lanes of the English Channel. Once located, the casualties who had been adrift all night in severe weather conditions were in need of urgent medical assessment so to avoid delay in towing the rib back to harbour it was decided to task Eastbourne lifeboat to assist. The casualties were transferred to Dungeness lifeboat which then made best speed to Sovereign Harbour. Meanwhile Eastbourne lifeboat had arrived on scene and took the rib under tow. Unhindered by the speed restriction of towing another vessel Dungeness lifeboat arrived back at Sovereign Harbour first. The nine casualties were passed to waiting Border Force officers, police and ambulance personnel. Some time later Eastbourne lifeboat returned towing the abandoned rib.